Undergrad student entering final year, aspiring screenwriter, hoping to work in the television industry.

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    The Evolution of Comedy in Sitcoms

    Comedy in television has changed drastically since the early days of "I Love Lucy". Through the changes of society and what is more acceptable, comes the more daring jokes and humour being explored on sitcoms of today. How has comedy changed and is it actually for the better? Furthermore, are the risks taken to make jokes in sitcom working for society, or is it becoming a bad thing?

    • I am not sure that we can assess whether comedy has become better or worse so much as we can look at the dominant types of jokes that present in modern comedy. I think a lot of this can be traced through the study of inappropriate jokes as you mention that comedy is taking more "risks." That is not to say that all jokes on contemporary T.V. are risqué but it certainly is symptomatic of what much of sitcom comedy is based on – DClarke 9 years ago
    • Many of today's comics have started the opposite of this thesis. Jerry Sienfeld, Bill Maher ave Kat Williams have all commented on how their jokes have landed them into campaigns calling then hate miners or have commented on comedians having to apologize for jokes. Recently Jaime Foxx had to back pedal from his joke about Bruce Jenner singing a duet by himself. Many comedians have said that the PC police are hurting their craft. – fchery 9 years ago
    • I agree with fchery. When I think of blatantly offensive (and genuinely hilarious) jokes in "All in the Family" or "Married... With Children" in comparison with today's sitcoms, I don't see these new shows as daring at all. The content may be different, e.g. nerds and gay couples, but the jokes are PC. – Simon 9 years ago
    • I think, also, there is a widening market for more "adult" sitcoms, especially ones which are animated. An example which comes to mind is FX's "Archer" or even something like "Arrested Development" which broach risky topics like incestual relationships, sadism. Whether or not these risks are worth it is debatable, but I do think it is an interesting topic. Also, shows like Archer require actual knowledge for the jokes and knowledge of the show so far, and this might be another aspect of modern comedies to discuss, therefore, a shift towards more serialisation. Another example which comes to mind is "Bojack Horseman". – Matthew Sims 9 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Good article; a lot of facts backed up by evidence. I agree that the show faltered around season three and just kept declining after that. I think that the choice to not focus on the core cast in New York for season four and deciding to stick in Lima was a poor choice. There were so many fun adventures the characters could have had in New York, and there could have been cameos from previous characters scattered about. The show lost its way when that poor choice was made for season four, and the ratings suffered heavily. Renewing for two seasons at once while season four was still going on was a poor choice because it meant that the show had to find a way to keep going for two seasons, especially after the death of Cory Monteith. Plus, Ryan Murphy’s other shows sidelined him from focusing on making Glee the best it could be.

    I think that staying in high school was their biggest mistake; the show should have grown and matured along with the characters. Instead, the characters got stuck in an endless loop of stupid storylines and while it looked like some of them matured, they reverted back to their high school personas. Only the ones who escaped the show in season four managed to show the growth that they needed to, and that was only because of their rare cameos.

    The Rise and Fall of Glee

    I think you make some good points about the villains and women, but I also feel like I would be fine with female villains if they weren’t redeemed, or softened in some way. Regina, in particular, keeps jumping back and forth between villain and hero so it’s never clear what side she’s on and it’s not clear if the writers know what side she’s on. Cora’s actions were handwaved to her ripping her heart out and once it was put back in her chest, it seemed to imply that she could become good again, or at least a certain version of good. Zelena’s arc is still ongoing, but even she got a softer edit because of the backstory given to her character.

    Overall, the show definitely softened many of the female villains and gave them rich backstories but I enjoyed Peter Pan’s journey as a villain because he was just evil with very little reason as to why, and he was never redeemed. I would like more of this type of villain on the show and I would like to give that to a female villain.

    Once Upon a Time and the Villainization of Women

    Excellent article. I agree whole heartedly with what this article is saying, and I think you articulated your thoughts quite efficiently. I do think that there is punishment with the female leads in both shows and vulnerabilities. At the same time, though, these shows are quite good examples, and one of the few, that promote female empowerment and introduce sole female leads who can survive without men saving them at every opportunity. It is something that should be in more shows but these two are the best examples for females being leads and kicking ass without having the reliance of males doing the work for them. But overall, your article is good and I enjoyed reading your points.

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed: The Re-Feminization of Female "Superheroes"